Athlete of the Week: Switch to cross country paying off for Central’s Lucy-Speidel

Mason Lucy-Speidel

WOODSTOCK – Mason Lucy-Speidel decided over the summer to give up football and run cross country. So far the switch has paid off for the Central junior.

Lucy-Speidel, who ran distance in track last spring, has been one of the top runners for Central all season and won the Conference 35 meet last week. He said he is really enjoying running cross country.

“I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like the extra miles, because track was just a mile or so,” Lucy-Speidel said. “So cross country added in 2.2 more miles. So I didn’t know how I was going to like that, but it hasn’t been anything too bad. I’ve enjoyed it a lot, to my kind of surprise.”

Lucy-Speidel had football at Central the last two years, but said he thought he could contribute more to the cross country team.

“I didn’t think I was going to get exponentially more playing time over the years,” Lucy-Speidel said of football. “But I figured I’d have more to offer as a runner and give more to the distance team, cross country, than I would the football team.”

Lucy-Speidel, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week for the week of Oct. 24-30, won the Conference 35 meet at Madison County last week in a time of 17:14. He had plenty of competition in the meet from his teammates, including his twin brother, Sawyer.

Sawyer Lucy-Speidel finished second (17:18), and Central’s Gus Wightman was third (17:19). He said he loves running and competing with them.

“We run together a lot in practice,” Mason Lucy-Speidel said. “We know who we’re going to run, what were going to do. We push each other because we’re great friends, but there’s that competitive edge. We always want to beat each other out. So it’s good fun running with them.”

The Falcons won the Conference 35 meet and the team now has its sights set on the Region 2A East meet today at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville. Mason Lucy-Speidel said one of his goals is to make all-region.

Mason Lucy-Speidel has been one of Central’s top runners all season, and won his first meet two weeks ago in the Shenandoah County meet.

Central coach Melissa Wright said she felt like Lucy-Speidel would have a successful season.

“We knew he was going to be a great addition to our team this year,” Wright said. “I was probably a little surprised when I saw him start taking over running No. 1 for us there, probably close to the beginning of the season. But he’s just a real hard worker.”

Mason Lucy-Speidel said he had never run any kind of distance running until last season in track. Before that he had always been a sprinter, but he said the coaches asked him to trying running distance and he gave it a shot.

He ran the 800-meter dash, the 1,600-meter run and was on the 4×800 meter relay.

“As a sprinter I always stayed on the track, so going out doing the long runs, even the 800’s was all a new experience,” Mason Lucy-Speidel said. “It was really enjoyable doing it with the guys.”

Running cross country has been in the family for Mason Lucy-Speidel. His older brother Tristan, who now runs at Lynchburg College, was a standout runner at Central.

Mason Lucy-Speidel said he started running with Sawyer over the summer, and it’s been great having his brother there by his side.

“During the summer and over the weekends sometimes we go out and do some long runs and we do a lot of training together,” Mason Lucy-Speidel said. “He’s a good training partner. We push each other on those long runs. Now when it comes to racing and training during the season we push each other even further. It’s good to have that guy you’re really close with, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world because it’s a blast running out there with him.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com